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Nevin Adams

Nevin Adams

Nevin Adams

By Nevin Adams11/16/2012 • 0 Comments

A recent EBRI Issue Brief found that families with any type of individual account retirement plan not only have larger amounts of wealth, but that wealth is substantially larger across each and every income group and head-of-household age group. Consider this: The median household wealth for a family with annual income of less than $25,000 that had an individual account retirement plan was $118,000, while the median household wealth for a family in the same income category, but with no individual retirement account, was $5,800. READ MORE

By Nevin Adams11/9/2012 • 0 Comments

Life is full of uncertainty. Events and circumstances, as often as not, happen with little if any warning. However, hurricanes you can see coming a long way off. In theory, at least, that provides time to prepare. But as I was reminded as we made last-minute preparations ahead of Hurricane Sandy recently, sometimes you don’t have time enough. I suppose a lot of retirement plan participants are going to look back at their working lives that way as they near retirement. READ MORE

Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

Fred Barstein

By Fred Barstein11/30/2012 • 0 Comments

Now that the election is over, we have a good sense of the people who will drive pension and retirement policy and their positions. While no one can really predict what regulators and Congress will do, we do have a pretty good idea of the themes that will drive future action: • Fee disclosure and transparency • Definition of fiduciary • Coverage for more people READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/27/2012 • 0 Comments

At the second TRAU Group Study Session, where more than 40 C(k)P candidates gathered recently at Transamerica’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters, advisors and industry professionals were asked the same questions as the C(k)P candidates who gathered in Boston a month earlier — questions related to improving participant outcomes, what’s working and what’s not working. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/21/2012 • 4 Comments

Ascensus will purchase ExpertPlan, 401kWire has reported, significantly boosting its number of plans under management from about 25,000 to over 40,000 and making it one of the largest providers in the DC industry. The sale of Ascensus, owned by private equity fund JC Flowers, was reported to be close earlier this year, but the deal never went through — with some speculating that Ascensus could then go shopping to beef itself up for an IPO. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/21/2012 • 0 Comments

The Wall Street Journal has reported that ING has been given more time to sell its U.S. groups as part of a deal worked out with the European Commission, the European Union's executive arm. When ING took the Dutch equivalent of TARP money in 2008, they agreed to divest some of their units, including their U.S. holdings, which include their record keeping division. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/21/2012 • 0 Comments

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday — initially because I liked watching too many football games, eating too much turkey and doing nothing without feeling guilty about overindulging. Later it took on a different meaning — a time for me to reflect on what I’m grateful for. I’m grateful to be in a business that helps people reach their dreams by helping them to retire with dignity. And I’m grateful to be able to affect and be affected by so many dedicated professionals, as part of NAPA and TRAU. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/16/2012 • 1 Comments

With the election results heralding four more years for EBSA head Phyllis Borzi, the long-pending fiduciary regulations are likely to be the agency’s first order of business, as we reported recently. Speaking at a CPI Broker Dealer Executive Roundtable, Brad Campbell of Drinker Biddle — who was Borzi’s predecessor — opined that not only are the fiduciary regulations alive and well, but there is a possibility that they could be fast-tracked now that the election has come and gone. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/16/2012 • 0 Comments

CPI recently launched a new product called ClearDirection, which builds on a history of open architecture and leverages the resources and technology of its parent company, CUNA Mutual Group. At an Executive Roundtable in Madison, WI which included the heads of 10 of the top DC-focused broker dealers, CPI outlined the key features of their product, which is designed to take advantage of the two key issues currently dominating the advisor-sold DC world – fee transparency and fiduciary duty. READ MORE

By Fred Barstein11/1/2012 • 2 Comments

At a recent group study session held by The Retirement Advisor University (TRAU) in Boston, advisor and provider C(k)P candidates were asked to create the ideal 401(k) plan as part of their case study work. While they were given the freedom to ignore current regulations, they had to deal with the economic realities affecting employers and the government. So what does the ideal 401(k) plan look like? READ MORE

John Carl

John Carl

By John Carl11/28/2012 • 0 Comments

The ERISA consultants at the Columbia Management Retirement Learning Center Resource Desk regularly receive calls from financial advisors on a broad array of technical topics related to IRAs and qualified retirement plans. A recent call with an advisor in New York is representative of a common inquiry related to relief for Hurricane Sandy victims. READ MORE

Marcus Chandler

Marcus Chandler

Marcus Chandler

By Marcus Chandler11/13/2012 • 0 Comments

As advisors scramble to close new business by the end of the year, it only serves as a reminder that the 2013 selling season is right around the corner. If your practice isn’t on track to accomplish its new business development goals for 2012, then you’re going to need to make some adjustments for 2013. When it comes to acquiring new clients, the 401(k) business is rather straightforward — essentially boiling down to two necessities: a compelling value proposition and enough new prospects to whom you can present that proposition. For most practices, the big challenge is the latter. READ MORE

Sheri Fitts

Sheri Fitts

Sheri Fitts

By Sheri Fitts11/19/2012 • 0 Comments

Getting started in the social media space is not especially difficult, but it does require time and a clearly outlined strategy. If you just build it, they won’t come. If you want to create positive buzz about your firm, drive search engine optimization and makes sales happen, you must participate. Much like marketing, social media is a practice of small, meaningful connections over time. Redzone Marketing outlines some key considerations and tactical steps you can take to get involved in a meaningful and manageable way. READ MORE

By Sheri Fitts11/12/2012 • 0 Comments

To some advisors, I imagine, social media seems complicated and overwhelming. So they opt to simply stand on the sidelines and let others go first. Sadly, these advisors miss out on important conversations, critical connections and an inexpensive way to build their market. No more excuses! Set an intention to get involved and dedicate time each day to integrate social media into your face-to-face networking and sales efforts. READ MORE

By Sheri Fitts11/5/2012 • 0 Comments

My Nana was a stickler for doing things right. And with Nana there was always a right way and a wrong way. (Nana = right, everyone else = wrong.) To Nana, spelling, punctuation and grammar mattered. Saying ‘thank you’ was an important part of any relationship. Here are five tips for channeling your inner Nana (or mine) in your social media communications. READ MORE

Rick Meigs

Rick Meigs

By Rick Meigs11/20/2012 • 0 Comments

From a plan sponsor’s perspective, which plan providers are doing the best job? A large number of respondents to the just-released 2012 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution Survey indicated a decline in satisfaction with their 401(k) providers. Overall satisfaction is down across 22 of 23 categories of service, the poll of more than 6,000 companies found. This means there are more sales opportunities now than last year. READ MORE

By Rick Meigs11/15/2012 • 0 Comments

A new year is fast approaching, which for many advisors means it’s time to give some thought to their marketing plans. Creating — or reviewing — a marketing strategy provides an excellent opportunity for you to define and launch initiatives to capture a greater share of the retirement plan business in your marketplace. An article from the folks at 401k Coach lays out five steps that will help you develop a strategy. READ MORE

By Rick Meigs11/1/2012 • 1 Comments

In an article they wrote for the Journal of Pension Benefits, Sarah Simoneaux and Chris Stroud from Simoneaux and Stroud Consulting Services offer some valuable insights on how TPAs can benefit from strategic partnerships. In fact, the lessons are transferable to any business segment. READ MORE

W. Michael Montgomery

W. Michael Montgomery

By W. Michael Montgomery11/6/2012 • 0 Comments

In August, attorney Fred Reish wrote an insightful article for fi360 AIF designees on Open MEPs that is a must-read for anyone involved with multiple employer plans. READ MORE

Sean Murray

Sean Murray

By Sean Murray11/28/2012 • 0 Comments

Forbes’ Janet Novak highlights many of the benefits of a stable value fund, especially in a rising interest rate environment. For example, with $650 million in assets, the stable value asset class is widely misunderstood, creating a great opportunity for retirement plan advisors to differentiate themselves; and with proper protections in place, most stable value funds — even in an extreme rising interest rate environment — should maintain their principal and most of their yield. READ MORE

By Sean Murray11/26/2012 • 1 Comments

New research from Wells Fargo details the differences in the savings and spending habits of affluent investors (those with assets in excess of $250,000) and those with less than $250,000 in savings. More than 50% of affluent investors utilize equities as a large portion of their asset allocation, the survey found (among other things), while just 35% of the non-affluent prefer stocks and would rather invest in cash, CDs, fixed income, etc. — a key point for many retirement plan advisors who are dealing mostly with less affluent investors. READ MORE

By Sean Murray11/6/2012 • 0 Comments

A white paper by PIMCO’s stable value portfolio management team and the head of their DC practice describes in detail some of the steps that advisors should go through when making decisions about which fund(s) they should select for the capital preservation space in a DC menu. READ MORE

John Ortman

John Ortman

By John Ortman11/16/2012 • 0 Comments

With the prospect of comprehensive tax reform legislation looming, key ASPPA and NAPA members are leading an advocacy effort on behalf of plan sponsors and plan participants. The goal: to talk to key members of Congress about the way Americans save for retirement, and educate them about the importance of preserving the existing incentives for retirement, including 401(k) plans. READ MORE

Adam Sokolic

Adam Sokolic

By Adam Sokolic11/13/2012 • 2 Comments

We’ve all seen the estimates of the amount of assets that will roll out of qualified retirement plans over the next five years. I’ve seen studies that estimate it as high as $3 trillion. However, the scary part about this is that today the advisor/broker on the retirement plan is capturing only 5% of these assets. But there is hope to move the needle on the percent of rollovers you are capturing. READ MORE

NAPA Net Staff

NAPA Net Staff

By NAPA Net Staff11/30/2012 • 2 Comments

A study of 2,000 advisors across distribution channels conducted by LIMRA and McKinsey shows that even though providers have increased value added services over the last 10 years by 40%, most of them are poorly delivered and not valued by advisors. Other highlights show that more advisors are teaming up with other specialists and that advisors that focus on retirement planning for their clients are more productive. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/30/2012 • 0 Comments

Some liken the recent fee disclosure regs and the preparation for it to Y2K – others say it has just been a big waste of paper. Regardless, it's not going away, and fees and transparency are front and center in the minds of employers and participants. The question is: How can participants really calculate how much they are paying in English and how does that compare? A new online tool claims to help participants plan determine their costs within a 401(k) plan — going beyond the DOL’s recent revisions to the 408(b)(2) and 404(a)(5) reporting requirements. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/30/2012 • 0 Comments

With the economy slowing and expected to be slow for a while, it will only become harder and harder for active equity managers to deliver returns. There doesn't seem to be a silver bullet — so many firms turn to experienced portfolio managers with good histories to guide them. To that end, Nuveen Investments has recently hired Bob Doll, a well-know figure in the DC market and speaker at many industry events, to be their Chief Equities Strategists and Senior Portfolio Manager. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/29/2012 • 0 Comments

The growth of RIA firms continues, fueled by recruitment, breakaway brokers and clients putting more money into the channel, according to a study by the market research firm Cerulli Associates. Bigger firms (those with more than $1 billion) are gaining market share more quickly and achieving scale — but lack of access to capital is limiting them. Smaller firms (those with less than $100 million) are struggling, especially with maintaining sustainable price points. Hybrids or dual registered advisors grew fastest, with 17% indicating that they are willing to drop their broker dealer affiliation. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/29/2012 • 0 Comments

Plan advisors now have an easy-to-use “toolkit” — a set of customizable messages to clients and participants, banner ads and more — to help spread the word about the critical need to protect American workers’ retirement savings. The toolkit is part of the “Save My 401k” effort launched Nov. 26 by ASPPA and NAPA. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/29/2012 • 0 Comments

According to research involving DC plans with over $6 billion in assets conducted on behalf of advisors by Chatham Partners — famous for their provider win/loss studies — 81% of plan sponsors sought advisors through referrals, with very few responding to cold call solicitation. An average of five advisors were selected for each opportunity. Personal fit was cited most often as the criterion for selecting an advisor, followed closely by pricing and experience, with personal relationships a distant fifth. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/29/2012 • 0 Comments

The team of Reish and Ashton " target="_blank">tackle the fiduciary issues surrounding brokerage windows, reviewing the process plan fiduciaries need to follow, the participant disclosure requirements and the implications of participants selecting an RIA to manage their accounts using the window. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/28/2012 • 0 Comments

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the three-year decline in participation rates precipitated by the Great Recession halted in 2011, as 54% of full-time workers age 21-64 participated in their employers’ retirement plans. With participation rates so low, employers and employees alike need to be made acutely aware that unless people don’t expect to retire or have other sources of capital, participation in a DC plan should not be an option. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/28/2012 • 0 Comments

In today’s world of instant gratification, it’s no wonder that workers value short-term benefits the most. According to a worldwide study of more than 10,000 workers conducted by Mercer, a salary increase was preferred over all types of benefits. While saving for retirement may seem to some like saving for a stranger, U.S. workers did rank DC plans and DC matches as the second and third most popular benefit — topped only by health care. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/27/2012 • 1 Comments

NAPA and ASPPA have launched the Save My 401k campaign to protect the tax incentives of employer-sponsored retirement plans from the threat of tax reform. The goal: to educate members of Congress and urge them to preserve those tax incentives. “The single most important factor in determining if a worker is saving for retirement is whether or not there is a plan at work. Last time Congress took up tax reform in 1986, employees 401(k) plans were cut by 70%, resulting in a mass termination of plans,” said Brian Graff, ASPPA’s and NAPA’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/27/2012 • 0 Comments

In a survey conducted by NEPC, a DC and pension consultant with almost 100 DC plans, fees and revenue charged by record keepers dropped 5 basis points over the 15-month period ending March 31, 2012. According to NEPC, revenue related to record keeping, custody and trust also dropped 11%. NEPC surmised that providers were lowering their fees in anticipation of the disclosure regulations, but the firm also saw record keepers shift revenue to monies received from investment firms on their platform. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/27/2012 • 0 Comments

If you thought lawsuits against 401(k) plans were dead, think again. Renowned plaintiff’s attorney Jerome Schlichter won a battle against Ameriprise when a federal judge in St. Paul, MN refused to dismiss Schlichter’s case, which claims that the 14,000 participants in Ameriprise’s $1 billion plan paid higher fees than they should have because proprietary funds were offered on the platform. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/26/2012 • 0 Comments

Using data from Denmark, an academic researcher showed that tax breaks for retirement savings have little effect on how many people save, especially those with lower incomes. As reported in a New York Times blog on economics, the researchers used Danish data because it was more detailed and because the U.S. and Danish pension systems are similar. Among the questions raised in the research were whether participants in auto plans offset savings elsewhere, and whether so-called passive savers — who tend to be lower income — change their behavior as a result of changes in the tax incentives. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/26/2012 • 0 Comments

Though the market rebounded last week, investors pulled out of equities, according to a Lipper report for the week ending Nov. 21. It may have been the threat of the impending fiscal cliff that caused the largest weekly outflow of money from mutual funds and ETFs since late July. On the other hand, over $20 billion moved into money market funds, compared with just $5.5 billion the previous week. In addition, $1.82 billion went into muni bond funds — the second highest amount in 21 years — with investors trying to avoid potential increases in investment tax rates. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/26/2012 • 0 Comments

Last Wednesday’s NAPA Net Daily included two noteworthy stories. If you missed that issue because you were in a rush to get to Grandma’s house, the stories described Ascensus’ acquisition of ExpertPlan and additional time for ING to divest its U.S. holdings under the terms of a deal it made with the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/21/2012 • 0 Comments

The ERISA consultants at the Columbia Management Retirement Learning Center Resource Desk regularly receive calls from financial advisors on a broad array of technical topics related to IRAs and qualified retirement plans. A recent call with an advisor in Maryland is representative of a common inquiry related to plan participant fee disclosures pursuant to section 404(a)(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and accompanying regulations. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/20/2012 • 0 Comments

Emboldened by the certainty of four more years, the Obama administration in general and EBSA in particular are expected to extend and more vigorously enforce the agenda and regulations promulgated in the president’s first term. For example, legal experts predict that improper receipt of undisclosed 12b-1 fees by plan advisors will be the subject of increased enforcement. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/20/2012 • 0 Comments

Sometimes it feels like the Great Recession was like Hurricane Sandy: devastating, unexpected and with far-reaching effects, especially on retirement savings and policy. In times of crisis, we turn to leaders; and there is no better leadership institution trained to deal with crisis than the military. To that end, Don Trone, founder of 3Ethos and fi360 before that, has partnered with the Academy Leadership, founded by West Point and Annapolis graduates, to create a leadership training program for investment fiduciaries. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/20/2012 • 0 Comments

While many provider and advisor groups like ASPPA and NAPA have begun to marshal their forces to protect against reductions in retirement plan incentives, as Congress begins to tackle the budget deficit it is even more important that employers step up and voice their opposition. To that end, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is chairing an industry group, the Coalition to Protect Retirement, and has launched a new website, howamericasaves.com, to ensure that members of Congress understand the importance of maintaining current levels of tax incentives for retirement and how, unlike so many other tax expenditures, they are deferrals, not deductions. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/19/2012 • 0 Comments

RIAs should know what it means to be a “designated investment manager” (DIM). This is important because under DOL guidance, if an RIA is a DIM, then the RIA’s investment management strategies — including asset allocations — are not considered designated investment alternatives subject to detailed participant disclosure (e.g., expense ratios, performance history, portfolio turnover rates). In contrast, the participant disclosure rules that apply to a DIM require only that the plan — initially and then annually — provide to participants the identity of the DIM and a description of the DIM service and fee. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/19/2012 • 1 Comments

Some people argue against any kind of hardship withdrawal or loan from a retirement plan, but few would argue about the special circumstances surrounding the consequences of Hurricane Sandy. Accordingly, the IRS announced on Nov. 16 that participants in a qualified plan may make hardship withdrawals or loans even if the plan does not currently allow for them, on three conditions: they are made between Oct. 26, 2012, and Feb. 1, 2013; the plan or participant is located in an area affected by Sandy; and the plan documents are amended on a timely basis. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/19/2012 • 0 Comments

A survey by TIAA-CREF shows that people receiving individualized financial advice (compared with general guidance) are more likely to act — yet many people find it hard to get that advice or think it is too expensive. Results varied by age group, gender and other factors. Those who did get advice and acted showed significantly greater results, realizing more than $200,000 in retirement savings over a 30-year period, the survey found. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/19/2012 • 0 Comments

Some advisors argue whether the recent DOL fee disclosure regs were either the latest version of Y2K, or the biggest waste of paper known to mankind. While no one is arguing against fee transparency, the formats do leave a lot to be desired. Yet a recent study by AARP indicates that 75% of plan participants prefer paper disclosures, 70% are more likely to read paper versions and 73% are more likely to save it. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/15/2012 • 0 Comments

It seems that American workers and employers have listened to NYU economist Paul Romer’s advice that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. A new study conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Study, “Weathering the Economic Storm: Retirement Plans in the United States, 2007-2012” features some encouraging news about the state of America’s DC system based on surveys of plan sponsors and participants. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/15/2012 • 0 Comments

The end of the year brings lots of lists. Following up on yesterday’s “Case of the Week” question about notices due by Dec. 2, the law firm of Snell & Wilmer provides a comprehensive to-do list for most types of benefit plans. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/15/2012 • 0 Comments

With Democrats now controlling the New Hampshire legislature, the Granite State’s move toward DC plans and away from DB plans for new government workers seems to be dead. Though New Hampshire’s proposed DC plan would help with the state’s underfunded liabilities, there was concern about the risks associated with employees selecting their own investments as well as the cost of implementing it. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/14/2012 • 0 Comments

The ERISA consultants at the Columbia Management Retirement Learning Center Resource Desk regularly receive calls from financial advisors on a broad array of technical topics related to IRAs and qualified retirement plans. A recent call with an independent advisor in Colorado is representative of a common inquiry regarding important plan notices due before year end. The advisor asked: “I have several clients who maintain 401(k) plans for their businesses. What notices are required to be given to participants before year end, and what are their deadlines?” READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/14/2012 • 0 Comments

Cogent Research recently released their second annual “Retirement Plan Advisor Trends” study designed to help providers understand the behaviors and preferences of plan advisors. American Funds and Fidelity were named top providers when it came to ease of doing business, followed by Hancock and Nationwide. Fidelity, Great West, Principal and Nationwide were top performers on servicing plan sponsors. Principal scored higher this year and, as expected, Hartford scored lower — especially with moderate producers. The payroll providers also registered lower satisfaction scores in 2012 compared with 2011. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/14/2012 • 0 Comments

One of the more controversial regulations proposed by the DOL under President Obama was their plan to broaden the definition of fiduciary to include more financial advisors. According to a BNA report, a proposed rule has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for clearance and should be issued in early 2013. At a recent International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans conference, Borzi indicated that it was time to include financial advisors in the definition of a fiduciary. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/13/2012 • 0 Comments

Michael Davis, Phyllis Borzi’s right hand man at the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration, will join Prudential Retirement as head of its stable value business. Davis left his post as deputy assistant secretary of EBSA last week. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/13/2012 • 0 Comments

Growth in target date funds is expected to increase 21% between the end of 2011 and 2016, according to a study conducted by BrightScope with Fuse Research Network. The study is part of a series of research reports examining the DC market. Market share in DC plans should increase from 76% in 2011 to 80% in 2016, the study projects, and target date funds are expected to dominate over target risk funds. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/12/2012 • 1 Comments

Offering his version of the ideal defined contribution system, John Bogle, founder of Vanguard, spells out a private system overseen by a federal retirement board. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/12/2012 • 0 Comments

Advisors know that they provide participants with significant help in preparing for retirement. Recent studies by the Principal Financial Group and the Pension Research Council now provide empirical data confirming this. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/12/2012 • 0 Comments

Fidelity recently reported the highest accounts balances ever — $75,900 — in the 12 years it has been tracking that metric. This is up 4.2% from the previous quarter, and represents an increase of 18% over a five-year period. With the market down a bit over the last five years, these gains are the result of better plan design. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/9/2012 • 1 Comments

With the election behind us, Congress and the president will soon have to face some daunting issues, starting with the budget deficit. With significant revenue increases unlikely, costs reductions will be the focus, and the tax incentive for retirement savings accounts is one item under attack. The American Benefits Council lays out a compelling case why reducing employee contributions — the so-called “20/20” proposal — would be a big mistake. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/9/2012 • 0 Comments

Based on a snapshot survey of retirement plans by the PSCA, only 1.4% of participants asked questions about their disclosures, and very few have changed deferral rates or participation — although 2.3% did shift their asset allocation. The bottom line: While its impact is minimal, fee disclosure does offer experienced and knowledgeable advisors the opportunity to start a meaningful dialogue with prospects who are not being properly advised. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/9/2012 • 0 Comments

Despite the fact that there are thousands of broker dealers and advisory firms — hundreds of which have 250 or more registered reps — fewer than 40 of them are focused on the DC market (defined as having at least one person dedicated to supporting DC-focused advisors). That level of support varies widely by firm. The broker dealers and advisory firms that make up a list compiled by The Retirement Advisor University (TRAU) fall into four categories: employee (i.e., reps are employees of the firm — including wirehouses), independent (reps are not employees), insurance (firm is part of an insurance company) and specialty (firm or a division focuses almost exclusively on the DC market). READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/8/2012 • 0 Comments

Describing Tuesday’s national and state election as a “status quo election,” NAPA’s Executive Director and Washington insider Brian Graff notes that, despite spending about $5 billion on this year’s elections, things remain largely unchanged — with President Obama still in the White House and control of House and Senate remaining the same, and with about the same balances of Republicans and Democrats. Plan advisors should pay close attention during the upcoming 6-week lame duck session of Congress, Graff recommends. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/8/2012 • 1 Comments

Michael Davis will be leaving his position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) at the Department of Labor for a position in the private sector, he told NAPA Nov. 7. There is no word yet about his replacement. Davis assisted DOL Assistant Secretary Phyllis Borzi in directing the policy, regulatory, enforcement and public assistance functions of the office responsible for administering the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and several health benefit laws. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/7/2012 • 0 Comments

Employer-provided retirement plans like 401(k)s are how moderate income American workers save for retirement. A look at participation rates among these workers (defined as those earning between $30,000 and $50,000 a year) shows that among workers who have access to a retirement plan at work, 71.5% participate. Among those who don’t have access to a plan at work, however, only 4.6% save through IRAs. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/7/2012 • 0 Comments

Republicans and Democrats vary widely on their views about retirement plans. Citing various survey sources, U.S. News and World Report reviews the issues, including partisans' views on: retirement saving, employers' responsibility for funding retirement plans, and changes to retirement savings based on election results. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/7/2012 • 0 Comments

Predicting continued slow growth of the U.S. economy and continued lower interest rates from the Fed, PIMCO’s Bill Gross predicts bite-sized future returns and the growing risk of misguided monetary policies leading to disruptive financial markets in the future. Citing lower capital spending and continued high household spending, the U.S. economy is not using cheap money to rebuild itself for the future. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/7/2012 • 0 Comments

The ERISA consultants at the Columbia Management Retirement Learning Center Resource Desk regularly receive calls from financial advisors on a broad array of technical topics related to IRAs and qualified retirement plans. In this installment of a weekly feature on NAPA Net, California's state-sponsored retirement plan for private-sector employees is described. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/7/2012 • 0 Comments

Third quarter data indicate that employee financial wellness continued to improve, with more people focused on important short term money management issues such as reducing debt, living within their means and setting up emergency funds — which came at the expense of retirement planning. Despite this shift, however, the news is still dire. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/6/2012 • 0 Comments

ERISA imposes strict liability on plan sponsors to conduct proper due diligence, yet many are ill prepared to discharge that responsibility. Tim Minard, an SVP at Principal Financial Group, outlines five very practical and basic steps on how to form and run an Investment Committee and detail the necessary sections of an Investment Policy Statement. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/6/2012 • 0 Comments

Today, the aggregate retirement savings shortfall — that is, the projected amount lacking to provide adequate retirement income for all Baby Boomers and Gen Xers when they turn 65 — is a staggering $4.3 trillion. The key to closing that gap is, of course, employer-based plans. For those who love deep-diving into some solid data from a reputable source — especially in light of the impending debate over the tax incentives that encourage employees to contribute to workplace plans — EBRI’s Nevin Adams and Jack VanDerhei offer an excellent article in The Milken Institute Review. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/5/2012 • 0 Comments

Regardless of how Congress is reshaped in the wake of today’s elections, legislators on Capitol Hill will face a daunting task: reducing the federal government’s budget deficit. Throw in the adverse consequences of letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire in January — referred to by some observers as “Taxageddon” — and the urgency for reforming the nation’s tax code rachets up considerably. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/5/2012 • 0 Comments

The deadline for submitting a nomination for the 2013 NAPA 401(k) Advisor Leadership Award has been extended until Nov. 9, 2012. Now in its sixth year, the 401(k) Advisor Leadership Award recognizes leadership, innovation and influence by a leading financial advisor in the 401(k) marketplace. The winner will receive the 401(k) Advisor Leadership Award during a special general session of the 12th annual NAPA/ASPPA 401(k) SUMMIT in March 2013. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/5/2012 • 0 Comments

Bloomberg reports that some participants are cashing out their 401(k)s to buy real estate. With the home market rebounding and investors wary of the stock market, some participants are more confident in assets they can control and understand. What are the risks? READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/5/2012 • 0 Comments

A recent study found that nearly 48% of Generation Xers who consulted a financial advisor have high levels of confidence that they will live comfortably throughout retirement, compared with less than 29 percent who have not. Among Baby Boomers the corresponding numbers are 43% and 32%. Yet either generation is really prepared for retirement — even though they think they are knowledgeable about investing. The past 12 months have been particularly troubling. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/2/2012 • 0 Comments

Political changes resulting from the November 6 elections are unlikely to have a major effect on how critical retirement plan policy decisions are made. Most significantly, decisions about fundamental changes to the tax code are likely to be made in the context of budget issues, not retirement policy issues. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/2/2012 • 0 Comments

Setting lower government limits on the contributions that workers can make to their 401k) accounts would result in lower retirement account balances at retirement for all income groups, according to research by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) — and the impact on younger workers with modest incomes would be especially significant. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/2/2012 • 1 Comments

While the initial results of the 404(a)(5) participant fee disclosure regs have been very muted, plan advisors should not be lulled into complacency. Participants need to know that they pay fees which are used to support a tax deferred savings account — an account which often includes a match that has been extremely beneficial. But first they have to get over the idea that this is an entitlement which their employer should provide for free. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/2/2012 • 0 Comments

What were the 10 most-read articles on NAPA Net last month? READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/1/2012 • 0 Comments

Do natural disasters qualify as an event that triggers a hardship withdrawal? Not unless the plan specifies these circumstances or unless the government passes some emergency legislation. Also, plans may be able to amend their documents to accommodate participants hit hard by “super storm” Sandy. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/1/2012 • 0 Comments

In a recent national survey of investors, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they felt it would be important to have a strategy in place for using their savings and investments to generate a regular income in retirement by the time they are 60 years old. However, only half said they did or would use their existing financial professional to develop the strategy. READ MORE

By NAPA Net Staff11/1/2012 • 0 Comments

The tax treatment of 401(k) and other defined contribution plans is significantly more progressive than the federal income tax system. In fact, data show that 62% of tax incentives for DC plans go to households with adjusted gross incomes of less than $100,000 — underscoring the fact that 401(k) plans are the way middle class Americans save for retirement. READ MORE

Marcy Supovitz

Marcy Supovitz

By Marcy Supovitz11/14/2012 • 0 Comments

It’s an interesting paradox that one of the greatest values of NAPA membership is one of the things that members tend to talk about the least: advocacy. Many people don’t really know just how much presence and influence ASPPA has, both on Capitol Hill and at the federal regulatory agencies. As an example, the depth of that presence and influence were on display during last month’s meeting of the NAPA Government Affairs Committee in Washington. Committee members met with government officials, congressional staff members and members of Congress to make sure the voice of the plan advisor community is being heard loud and clear, notes NAPA president Marcy Supovitz in this month's NAPA update. READ MORE